The six “topic” portals in the Oregon Explorer address issues associated with a topic of concern to Oregonians. Most often these have a natural resource focus. They provide tools that help citizens formulate pertinent questions and take action locally.
Most often the tools on these topics have a mapping component. For example, the Wildfire Risk Explorer allows you to view search for level of wildfire risk in your community by zip code, community, or 4th, 5th, 6th field watershed. It also provides information about reducing that risk. If you are interested in being prepared for other eventualities, there is the Oregon Hazards Explorer. Using the “hazards reporter” you can generate reports and maps of hazard potential (flooding, earthquake, tsunami, wildfire, etc.) where you live. You can also read stories about past events and find resources to prepare for the future.
The Land Use Explorer addresses the issues associated with Measures 37 and 49 and land use decisions in general. Using the viewer-tool in this portal you can overlay land use claim data, urban growth boundaries, soils, forest land, fire risk, conservation opportunities and/or ground water restrictions.
The Oregon Wildlife Explorer provides information about the wildlife species and issues in Oregon. It highlights The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s strategies to address key conservation issues that present the greatest threats to wildlife populations and their habitats throughout the state. Using the Oregon Wetlands Explorer you can map wetlands in your community, find priority areas for wetland mitigation, and learn about Oregon’s greatest wetlands, wetland restoration, history, ecology and classification.
Last, but by no means least, is the Rural Communities Explorer which provides public access to reliable and up-to-date social, demographic, economic, and environmental information about Oregon’s rural counties and communities. This explorer project is also an example of the OSU community working together with expertise from the OSU Rural Studies Program, OSU Extension, OSU Libraries, and the Institute for Natural Resources.
Over the next several months I’d like to provide you with a little more information about the “Oregon Explorer.” The Oregon Explorer (OE) is an evolving, collaborative natural resources digital library initiated by the OSU Libraries and the Institute for Natural Resources. Its goal is to provide the citizens of Oregon with a wide array of high quality, place-based information, in relevant formats, relating to the natural resources of our state.
The Oregon Explorer is a statewide site but is also a place to link to “topic,” “basin,” and more recently “data” portals as you see in the chart below.
Developing tools that support natural resource decision-making and provide access to spatial data by the novice has been a mainstay of the Oregon Explorer. In November, OE launched its second “data” portal, the Oregon Spatial Data Library. This is a collaboration with the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. The first data portal was the Oregon Imagery Explorer which provides access to .5 m color imagery acquired in 2005.
OSU Extension has participated in the development of several portals within OE family. We hope you will find opportunities to use the site as well — be that for your work directly or in advising your clientele throughout the state.
(This post is the first of several articles written originally for the OSU Extension Staff Newsletter during 2009/2010).